Wedding photography is the ultimate pressure test for professionals, offering their services. These no re-runs, no second chances – get the shot wrong and you’ve ruined the biggest day of someone’s life. However, get it right and the rewards can be great and the best of the best in the world of wedding photography have just been honoured via the 2019 International Wedding Photographer of the Year contest.
Now in its third year, the International Wedding Photographer of the Year offers photographers to submit entries in the hope of winning a share of the $20,000 prize pool and, or course, that acclaimed title. 2019’s Grand Winner title went to Canada-based pro duo Cat + Jeff of The Apartment Photography for this impressive low light image. The duo commented; “Pia and Julian brought together their families from around the world to celebrate their love in Whistler, BC. Their multi day celebration was the perfect combination of their two backgrounds – bringing so many different cultural aspects together to create a weekend that was so unique and special to them. The crazy weather patterns (sunshine, rain and blustery winds!) didn’t stop these from from having the best time ever – they had smiles painted on their faces all weekend long!”
Runner-Up in the contest went to Xenia Shabanova from Estonia for this clever frame that captured both bride and groom on the night before the wedding. Xenia commented; ‘The photo was taken in the evening before Chris’ and Natalie’s big day. An additional photoshoot right before the wedding day itself might not be the brightest idea. We had no other option as the guys had only arrived in Tallinn just before the wedding. My idea was to capture the state of mind of both the bride and groom before the most important event in their life. I was imagining the bride admiring the dress and the groom just having a drink of whiskey and taking a quiet moment for himself. The shot was taken by my drone from outside the hotel, in order to look into the hotel from “outside-in”. I was standing on the street and giving instructions to the couple via the mobile. I got very lucky with the mirror-like surface of the windows of the hotel, which reflected the lights of the night.’
Taking top honours in the Black & White category was Rafal Donica from Poland. “This is only my 3rd picture of fireworks at a wedding, in my 3-years career as wedding photographer. We waited until dark and looked for a place without any lights in the background. I asked the guests to stand around the pair of newlyweds, Martyna & Wojtek, with the fireworks lit surrounding them to fill the frame as best as possible. I then asked Martyna & Wojtek to improvise – look at the guests, themselves, the lens, kissing each other, etc. I made sure each person only held one firework so that I didn’t overexpose the frame. By setting them on fire at the same time it gave me more to capture the moment. I took the photo from a low height (I was kneeling), with a full frame camera and a 35 mm prime lens. Positive energy and spontaneity of the newlyweds, as well as excellent humour from the guests, helped capture “this” moment, and created the final effect.”
Placing first in the Bridal Party category was Canadian photographer Angela Ruscheinski, who said; ‘This bride didn’t hesitate when I encouraged them to shake up this oversized bottle of bubbly. I should have packed a poncho and I smelt like champagne the rest of the day! Any regrets though? None! I consider myself a photographer for the brides who don’t mind getting their dress a little dirty or their hair a little wind tousled. The ones who will shake the champagne bottle and eat pizza at their reception. The kick their shoes off, who cares if it rains types.”
Gaelle Le Berre from Australia was named as winner of the Dance Floor category and explained some of the technique behind the impressive frame; “It was actually quite a very overcast day, fortunately, they were lucky enough to have their secular ceremony outside just before it started raining. For this shot, I had my off camera flash and at the exact moment I took this shot, the light of the DJ illuminated the couple who was actually the best friend of the bride the who fired the dance-floor with her partner just right after this. Lucky enough to be at the right place and the right moment. We can see the silhouette of the groom on the right next to the bride.”
The From Above category was one of the most hotly contested and saw a raft of impressive aerial photography. Latvian photographer Marcis Baltskars took top spot for a frame that made the most of the shadows in the scene. Marcis commented; ‘In this wedding we had some extra time in the guests photoshoot part. So I came up with an idea to create a creative group photo. The light was perfect for silhouettes so I asked all the guests to make a circle, then I lifted up a drone and made some corrections to make it look perfectly round – to make it look like a ring which is a symbol of endless love. And all the guests, including the newlyweds, were truly surprised and happy about the result when I showed them the picture.’
Ben Appleby from the UK took top spot in the Solo Portrait category for this atmosphere-packed frame of a bride lit by window light. Ben commented; “During dinner, I noticed the windows and saw that it was casting a nice highlight of light on the floor. I knew that if I stood Lauren in the light, in her dress, she’d look amazing! I love the dusty light highlighting her.”